Edward put on his armor and set out for Scotland; but at Burgh-on-the-Sands his illness came on again, and he died there at seventy years old.
He was buried in Westminster Abbey, under a great block of stone, and the inscription on it only says, “Edward I., 1308—The Hammer of the Scots—Keep Treaties.” His good wife, Queen Eleanor, had died many years before him, and was also buried at Westminster. All the way from Grantham, in Lincolnshire—where she died—to London, Edward set up a beautiful stone cross wherever her body rested for the night— fifteen of them—but only three are left now.
Edward II., Of Caernarvon. A.D. 1307—1327.
Unlike his father in everything was the young Edward, who had just come to manhood in mind, for he was silly and easily led as his grandfather, Henry III., had been. He had a friend—a gay, handsome, thoughtless, careless young man—named Piers Gaveston, who had often led him into mischief. His father had banished this dangerous companion, and forbidden, under pain of his heaviest displeasure, the two young men from ever meeting again; but the moment the old king was dead, Edward turned back from Scotland, where he was so much wanted, and sent for Piers Gaveston again. At the same time his bride arrived —Isabel, daughter to the King of France, a beautiful girl—and there was a splendid wedding feast; but the king and Gaveston were both so vain and conceited, that they cared more about their own beauty and fine dress than the young queen’s, and she found herself quite neglected. The nobles, too, were angered at the airs that Gaveston gave himself; he not only dressed splendidly, had a huge train of servants, and managed the king as he pleased, but he was very insolent to them, and gave them nick-names. He called the king’s cousin, the Earl of Lancaster, “the old hog;” the Earl of Pembroke, “Joseph the Jew;” and the Earl of Warwick, “the black dog.” Meantime, the king and he were wasting the treasury, and doing harm of all kinds, till the barons gathered together and forced the king to send his favorite into banishment. Gaveston went, but he soon came back again and joined the king, who was at last setting out for Scotland.
The nobles, however, would not endure his return. they seized him, brought him to Warwick Castle, and there held a kind of Court, which could hardly be called of Justice, for they had no right at all to sentence him. He spoke them fair now, and begged hard for his life; but they could not forget the names he had called them, and he was beheaded on Blacklow Hill.
Edward was full of grief and anger for the cruel death of his friend; but he was forced to keep it out of sight, for all the barons were coming round him for the Scottish war. While he had been wasting his time, Robert Bruce had obtained every strong place in Scotland, except Stirling Castle, and there the English governor had promised to yield, if succor did not come from England within a year and a day.